THE INTERNATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
By ALFRED MATHIESON.
1 The Coronation of the King (vv. 1-5)
2. The Habitation of the King (vv. 6-9)
3. The Recognition of the King (vv. 11-12).
4. The Subjection of the King's Enemies (vv. 17-25).
lesson falls under two headings: Seeking the King, Serving the King. The once rejected David is now sought after by
the tribes of
was taken from the lowly place of the sheepfold, and after long waiting and
much testing was exalted to reign over
David is a type of the Greater
Shepherd and Captain the Lord Jesus Christ, and this chapter sets forth in typical illustration like a panorama events to come. The Greater
David is now rejected by
All must seek the Greater David, and all must serve Him NOW if they are to have any part or lot in His glorious reign. To those who bow the knee acknowledging Him as Saviour and Lord, and who serve Him faithfully, prepared to suffer with Him even unto death, He gives the radiant promise, "Him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Revelation 3: 21).
Joseph Rabinowitz was a lawyer residing in Kischimeff,
* * * * * * *
1 Kings 10: 1-13.
1. The Reputation of Solomon (v. 1).
2. The Reception of the Queen of
3. The Interrogation of Solomon (v. 3).
4. The Inspection by the Queen of
5. The Ascription by the Queen of
6. The Presentation to Solomon (vv. 10-13).
1. The Displeasure of God with Solomon (vv. 9-11).
2. The Denunciation of Solomon (vv. 11-13).
This lesson may profitably be dealt with under three aspects: Personality, Typically and Practically.
The Personal. Tremendous is the contrast between the exhalation and
denunciation of Solomon. Humility characterized the beginning of his
reign, but humiliating was its end. When God said to him, "Ask what I shall give thee," Solomon humbly asked
for wisdom, and God, pleased with his choice, granted also riches, wealth and
honour (2 Chronicles 1: 12), and made him
the greatest king the world has ever known. To him also was given the
commission to build the
The typical. It is clear that Solomon [in
some respects] is a type of Christ. The
name Solomon means "Peaceable," and
in his days peace and quietness was given to Israel, a type of Him Who is
the Prince of Peace, and Who during His Millennial
reign will inaugurate peace and rest to this restless chaotic world (Psalm 72: 7). Wealth and glory marked Solomon's reign to an
extent unknown before or since, and which will not be again until He Who is the
Solomon’ reigns as King of
kings and Lord of lords. To Solomon was given wisdom, but Wisdom
shall then sit on the throne and "all nations shall call Him
blessed" (see Psalm 72).
3. The Practical. Solomon's glory and downfall is a tremendous lesson to us. It is a painful revealing of the self life. The effect of one wilful act is like the effect produced by allowing a single drop of ink to fall into a glass of pure water, the whole becomes contaminated. True life, wisdom and glory is only to be obtained from God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Coming to God by faith we are justified from all things, but there must be added a constant walk with Him in a sanctified life in order to please Him.
relief life-boat was built at
* * * * * * *
1 COR. 9: 24-27.
1. The Race and the Reward (v. 24).
2. The Runner and the Rules (vv. 25-27).
PHIL. 3: 12-14.
1. The Unattained Prize (v. 12).
2. The Unabated Perseverance (v. 13).
3. The Unquenched Passion (v. 14).
HEB. 12: 1, 2.
1. The Personal Consecration (v. 1).
2. The Patient Continuance (v. 1).
3. The Perfect Conqueror (v. 2).
Spiritual life is vividly depicted under various figures, and the one before us is that of an Athlete. The figure is taken from the Greek athletic festivals, with the focus especially upon the oldest and most famous of the events, the footrace. The Christian life is therefore portrayed as a strenuous, self-denying, sacrificial contest. To enter the Greek contest certain conditions had to be fulfilled. They had to prove they were of pure Greek blood, that they had not forfeited the right of citizenship by misconduct, and had undergone the ten month's training and diet prescribed. The first step to entering the Christian contest is to possess the life of Christ. As only a Greek of pure blood could enter the Greek contest, and there was no exception, so is it in the Christian race. Every runner must have been born into the family of God through faith in Christ Jesus as Saviour and Lord. The race begins at the Cross, and everyone must first possess his badge of pardon, peace, purity and power. Having then the essential condition of entry, there is set before us the Race and the Reward. Three things will characterize the runner filled with the holy ambition of obtaining ‘the prize’. He will give earnest attention, put forth strong exertion, and possess unwavering determination. Only those who have this attitude of heart can hope to win. Then we must be stripped for the race, unhindered by any encumbrance. "Laying aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us." What are the weights? "the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things" (Mark 4: 19). We must keep the flesh in subjection and exercise self-denial and self-restraint. In short, there must be death to the self-life, and absolute personal consecration. The will must be wholly yielded to God, and only His will sought. There must be the continual reckoning of ourselves dead to sin, and in order to win the great reward of the sanctified life there will needs be a refraining from that which is lawful, because it is not expedient. In our own strength all this is impossible, and is only made possible by the power of God given us through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1: 19-21). Paul's cry must ever be ours, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4: 13). Paul declared that he had not attained the perfection desired nor grasped the prize, but forgetting past attainments he pressed forward with unabated perseverance, with patient continuance and unquenched passion, having his eye upon the perfect Example and Conqueror, his Lord and Master. He who would win the prize must keep to the track, "strive lawfully," be watchful and continue instant in prayer.
What is the prize? Not a fading laurel wreath, the reward of the Greek runner, but an incorruptible crown; a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4: 8), and of life* (James 1: 12; Revelation 2: 10).
[*Not "eternal life" which is a “free gift” (Rom. 6: 23, R.V.), but life in the “age” to come, (Lk. 20: 35. cf. Heb. 2: 5.).]
Jerry McAuley, the notorious river-thief of
September 21st, 1884, at the Broadway
He had run the race, he had finished the course; the prize lay before him
* * * * * * *
1. The Dawn (vv. 1-5).
2. The Deliverer (vv. 6,7).
previous chapter (Isaiah 8.) closes on the
note of deepest sadness as it depicts the darkness to fall upon
"Ever since the times of the judges, all these lands had been
exposed, on account of the centuries that joined them, to corruption from
Gentile influence, and subjugation by heathen foes. The northern tribes
... suffered the most in the almost incessant war between
what follows it would appear that verse 2
has a wider application and includes all
is related to the annals of the
* * * * * * *
1. The Vineyard.
2. The Vocation.
3. The Vision.
4. The Verdict.
This parable was called forth by the question of Peter in the previous chapter, and its keynote is service and reward. The verses (19: 30; 20: 16) prefacing and concluding the parable are to be noted, of which the parable is an illustration.
The vineyard is the kingdom of heaven; the householder is God; the steward is Christ in His capacity as Judge, and the labourers are those by faith have responded to the call and received eternal life. Every Christian is called to work in God's vineyard, for in His economy there can be no idlers. The different hours appear to refer to the church age and to different periods of her history, but there is also an application to individual life and experience. Those called at the first hour agree to labour for a penny for the day, but at the sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours, that which was just was promised as a reward to the labourers. The central truth of the parable is contained in the passages dealing with the giving of the reward. At the end of the day the steward called the labourers "beginning from the last unto the first," and to the last was a penny given. The first seeing this expected to receive more, but they also received a penny, their agreed reward.
But with this they were dissatisfied and murmured. They complained that the last had only served one hour whilst they had borne the heat of the day, and inferred that "the good man of the house" was dealing unjustly with them. The reply they receive is that no injustice is done them; on the contrary the promised reward has been given, but he who dispenses justice has also the right to dispense grace and give the same reward to those who worked in the last hour, willing to do so without knowing the reward to be granted. The parable is held up to the Apostles, Jewish Christians, and to the redeemed individually, showing that in the service what is vital is the attitude of heart of the labourer. The service must not be one merely of duty but of devotion. The first exhibited their legal hearts and that the spirit of their service was mercenary, envious and selfish. They did not rejoice that even at the last hour response was given to the householder, and workers entered the vineyard simply resting in his goodness, nor did they rejoice in the grace exhibited. "A mercenary spirit destroys the position of the labourer in the kingdom of God: he makes merchandise of the calling of God (instead of being a fellow-worker, he becomes an unfaithful hired servant); he converts the Word of God into mere traditions, the work of faith into a burden, the hope of reward into a claim, and the blessings granted into a judgement." The lesson of the parable then is that whilst service in the vineyard is the calling of every Christian, that service to be acceptable for the high rewards of grace must spring from a heart of love and devotedness to God. Not merely serving for the reward's sake in the narrow-souled legal spirit, but out of a loving heart and consecrated life to Him Who in infinite grace has given us the privilege of serving Him. So many - not all - that are first shall be last. Many are called into the service, but few are chosen for the exalted places in the coming age. To be amongst the chosen there must needs be loving, loyal, whole-hearted, willing service from lives walking in holiness and clothed with humility.
heart has not thrilled at the story of
Delia, the sin-marred queen of a
* * * * * * *
1. The Delegation of the Talents (vv. 14, 15).
2. The Demonstration of the Trading (vv. 16-25).
3. The Diligence Required (vv. 26-29).
4. The Deliverance of the Judgement (v. 30).
Whilst the parable in our previous lesson showed the attitude of heart required in serving God, this parable reveals the activity and fidelity demanded. The Lord is the "man travelling into a far country" delivering His goods unto His servants ([regenerate] believers). The distribution of the talents is in the proportion of five, two and one, and each received according to his ability. According to the known ability of each was the distribution made so that there could be no excuse for unfaithfulness, nor could any complain that the gift was greater than his power could sustain. The gifts are not natural endowments, but spiritual gifts distributed according to natural ability. Upon believers only are these gifts bestowed. They are Christ's "own servants," and are therefore made stewards for Him. "As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4: 10). In a former lesson natural wealth is set forth, but here it is the management of spiritual riches. For the gifts see Ephesians 4: 8, 11, 13; 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11, etc. The trading with the talents is the use of the gifts for the glory of God, and faithfulness in their use operates to the bestowal of more gifts. He who possessed the five talents made other five; and the two also gained other two.
The "long time" of the parable is the period of testing until the Lord returns. At His return He reckons with His servants. "Everyone of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14: 12). The possessor of the five talents showing that he has gained five more is commended by his hold, receives the reward of being made a ruler, and enters into the joy of his Lord. Likewise was it with the possessor of the two talents.
Then comes the one with the one talent, and he begins by accusing his lord. This accusation was made to cover his own negligence. Then he says, "I was afraid and hid my talent." The true reason was, he was afraid of the responsibility, and sought to evade it. His thought was centred on self, not on his lord. But his excuse is rejected, for his lord is angry and calls him "a wicked and slothful servant." His accusations are unfounded, his neglect inexcusable, and he stands convicted before the other two. His talent is taken and given to the one who has ten. Lack of space prevents us from entering into all details of the parable. Solemn are the closing verses (29, 30) of the parable with the lord's pronouncement on the slothful servant. Do these words apply to a believer? Yes, such a believer "suffers loss," although they do not mean that he loses eternal life. No believer dare presume upon grace, or dare trifle with a holy God. To be pleasing unto the Lord means that we give heed to His Word; "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience [perseverance] inherit the promises" (Hebrews 5: 12).
"The first time I ever saw Mr. Moody," said Mr. Reynolds of
* * * * * * *
2 Tim. 2: 1-13.
1. The Exhortation (vv. 1-3).
2. The Illustration (vv. 9-10).
3. The Foundation (v. 8).
4. The Persecution (vv. 9-10).
5. The Coronation (vv. 11-13).
1 Cor. 11: 1. The Invitation.
2 Tim. 4: 7-8.
1. The Declaration (v 7).
2. The Expectation (v. 8).
The Second Epistle to Timothy is Paul's farewell letter to his son in the faith. Paul is facing a martyr's death, and he pens this letter to his beloved Timothy, bidding him, in the midst of growing dangers and terrors, to be strong in his living Lord. He exhorts him to courage and effort by strengthening himself in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The word "therefore" harks back to the previous chapter wherein Timothy is reminded of his holy home, of God's gift, power and calling, of Paul's sufferings and his Mighty Keeper in the midst of them. This leads on to the exhortation to Timothy to turn to his source of strength, the grace in Christ. In every circumstance he was to draw upon the resources of God, embracing the fullness of Grace that he might be empowered to witness, and enabled to endure. And this Grace is in Christ. But the two are inseparable, and after all it is Himself as our Source of Power, our Place of Safety and our Treasury of Fullness. In Him, therefore, Timothy is to strengthen himself, and that strength is to issue in the practical work of committing to others the holy Gospel committed to him. In this holy service; in the campaign of his Lord, surrounded by opposing and malignant forces, Timothy is exhorted to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." In order to enforce his appeal Paul sets before Timothy three illustrations of this intense life for Christ - the Soldier, the Athlete, and the Farmer. The first figure is that of a soldier on campaign, and as in the earthly sphere, the soldier is detached from all other interests and pursuits, so in the heavenly, the surrender to the Lord must be wholehearted, the separation from the world, complete. The illustration of the Athlete (v 5) has already been dealt with in a former lesson, and we merely remark that the victor's crown, the reward for the earnest life, can only be obtained by giving heed to the rules of life laid down by God. Thirdly, we have the Farmer. There is nothing spectacular in this occupation, and the lesson conveyed is the outworking as the Lord's servant, in ploughing, sowing, tending and reaping, of that great and necessary quality, patience, the patience that fails not! Before Timothy is then brought the One Who is the Foundation of his faith and the Example of his life, the Risen Christ. "Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead:" - a Conquering Saviour, a Compassionate High Priest, a Coming King.
To live for Him and to serve Him means that we shall endure suffering and persecution, declares the great Apostle, who was then himself in bonds, but to willingly know the "fellowship of His sufferings" is to enter into fellowship of His sovereignty. The crowning of the suffering Saviour is linked to the crowning of the suffering saint. The Apostle invites us to follow his footsteps, for he followed in the path of Christ. He is conscious of having been a victor in the fight and could declare his certain expectation of receiving the crown from the hand of his Lord and Saviour Whom he served and adored. Let us follow our Lord all the way, so that at His Coming we may receive our crown and reward.
two hundred years ago, groups of weeping spectators stood one day on the shore
"For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For hereunto ye were called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Pet. 2:20, 21, R.V.).